Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Dave Smith has studied bear behavior and bear attacks extensively. He has written books on how to survive bear encounters and animal attacks. I have corresponded with Dave Smith. I find Dave to be the most knowledgeable, well read, and capable critic of the current literature. Dave has worked prodigiously to understand the studies about the effectiveness of bear spray and firearms in stopping bear attacks.
In November of 2017, Dave put a great deal of thought into an exchange of comments at a Wyoming public media site. I contacted Dave, and he agreed to allow me to edit and publish the exchange. I summarized the replies to Dave, as I do not have those authors permissions. You can read the entire exchange at wyoming public media.com. Here is the edited exchange, with my observations.
First, Dave sets the scene by stating that it is not really about bear spray vs. firearms. Dave says for a surprise attack, it is a choice. You should choose bear spray or a firearm.
Instead of pitting bear spray vs firearms, try bear spray or a firearm.
Archers have a choice between bear spray or a handgun.
As the recent incident with a game warden shows, people hunting with a long gun–a rifle or shotgun–must be prepared to use their firearm during a classic surprise encounter with a grizzly.
When field dressing game, a hunter has a choice between bear spray or a handgun.
Hunters should be advised that the 2 studies on bear spray are about non-hunters using bear spray. And bear spray research is primarily about people using bear spray against curious bears, or bears seeking food and garbage. Of 72